">">">Responses to Constituency Fact Sheet

Illinois Street Intermodal Bridge Project

Prepared:  September 4, 2001

 

The following issues were raised by citizens seeking more information about the Illinois Intermodal Bridge project proposed by the Port of San Francisco.  Responses have been provided to address each issue below:

 

Define the single most important reason for the Bridge

The Illinois Intermodal Bridge is a long-sought Port capital project to provide efficient freight rail improvement essential to cargo terminal operations.  Today, trains must travel 3.3 miles of circuitous track to reach the Pier 80 terminal on the north side of Islais Creek.  With the proposed bridge, the route would be reduced to .66 miles, because trains could simply cross over the bridge to the north side of Islais Creek after using existing freight access through Port cargo facilities on the south side of the Creek.

 

Mitigations Measures and Other Provisions

The Illinois Bridge was analyzed in the Southern Waterfront Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) completed in February 2001.  The SEIR identified the bridge itself as a mitigation measure because it would provide an alternate route for traffic (mainly trucks) from Port-related operations and thus relieve future congestion otherwise projected for Third Street.   Construction period mitigation measures are identified under SEIR Requirements below.

 

In addition to SEIR mitigations, the bridge project has been designed in response to community concerns: 1) it would have a 55 foot wide fully movable span to maintain today’s navigational access; 2) it has been sited as far to the east as possible while still tying into the roadway and existing freight rail tracks on Illinois Street, in order to maximize access to adjacent properties: 3) its design includes walkways to Muwekma Ohlone Park, and maintains pedestrian access to Tulare Park next to the Third Street Bridge.  Additional provisions may be incorporated in response to public input on the project, and will include measures to minimize construction-related disruption to Mowekma Ohlone Park and adjacent shoreline.  

 

Alternatives to Proposed Bridge Concept

There are no significantly different routes that could achieve the freight rail efficiencies of the proposed bridge.  The originally proposed bridge design as analyzed in the SEIR did not include a fully movable span.  Although the movable span is not required by the Coast Guard, the Port has modified the project in response to community concerns.

 

Sources of Funding and Construction Timelines

The construction cost for the preferred design is $11 million.  Port will contribute capital funds and secured grants totaling $6.2 million; Catellus will contribute $2.5 million per the Mission Bay Agreement; Port Tenants and Catellus will contribute the remaining.   

 

·       September 25, 2001 – Port Commission approves framework for bridge construction.

·       Sept–Dec 2001 – Due diligence

·       Prior to Dec 2001 – Port Commission approvals of the Illinois Street Bridge project consistent with the framework.

·       Sept 2001-Feb 2002 – Obtain required entitlements including from BCDC, US Coast Guard, Regional Water Quality Control Board, US Army Corp of Engineers.

·       Sept 2001-Feb 2002 – Bridge design finalized.

 

Construction Timelines (continued)

·       As early as Jan 2002 – Landside construction begins.

·       March 2002 – In-water construction begins.

·       1st Quarter 2003 – Bridge construction completed.     

 

SEIR Requirements  

Construction mitigations for the proposed Bridge are standard for work in the water along San Francisco Bay.  Construction may not occur during herring season and “Best Management Practices”, as determined by regulatory agencies (including Regional Water Board, Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife) are utilized to minimize turbidity of the water and prevent any construction materials debris from entering the Bay.  Land-side construction mitigations include “watering” the job site to reduce dust emissions.  Traffic signals will be installed at the intersections of Illinois Street and Marin Streets, and Cargo and Amador Streets to mitigate traffic circulation.   

 

Bay Trail and Bicycle Lanes

South of Mariposa Street, the Bay Trail runs southerly on Illinois Street, westerly on 25th Street, southerly on Third Street and easterly on Cargo Way.  In this portion of the Bay Trail, bicyclists share the travel lanes with vehicles and pedestrians utilize the sidewalks.  The proposed Bridge will not affect the Bay Trail.  It is anticipated that bicyclists may share the travel lanes with vehicles on the Bridge when the rail track is not in use.   

 

How does the Bridge interface, impact or enhance the other issues for the Southern Waterfront and Central Waterfront development issues, e.g.:

           

·       Third Street Light Rail – The dedicated light rail right-of-way will remove two of six travel lanes in Third Street.  The proposed Bridge will help to alleviate congestion on Third Street by allowing primarily Port-generated commercial truck traffic to utilize the Bridge as an alternative north-south route.

 

·       Central Waterfront Plan Sewerage Digester Towers on Islais Creek Master Plan – The proposed digesters will be located at the far west end of Islais Creek, approximately one half mile distant from the proposed Bridge.  Neither proposed project will impact the other.

 

·       Bayview Hunters Point Community Revitalization Concept Plan – The proposed Bridge is located in an area identified as Northern Industrial in the Plan.  The Bridge will facilitate rail and commercial truck movements in this industrial district.  The Plan also identifies Enhanced Truck Routes along Cesar Chavez Boulevard, the north portion of Third Street and Cargo Way.  The Bridge will allow commercial truck traffic to utilize the Bridge as an adjacent alternative truck route.

 

·       SF Port Waterfront Land Use Plan – The WLUP identifies Piers 80 and 90-96 as Maritime Uses.  The proposed Bridge will improve the rail and truck traffic connections between the piers.

 

·       DPW Illinois Street Re-paving Plan – Muni’s Metro East project includes constructing Illinois Street between 25th Street/Cesar Chavez Boulevard with travel lanes and sidewalks.  The proposed Bridge project includes constructing Illinois Street between Cesar Chavez Boulevard/Marin Street and between Marin Street/Islais Creek where not occupied by the proposed Bridge.

 

 

Southern Waterfront and Central Waterfront development issues (continued):

 

·       Intended future uses for Pier 80 and Piers 90-94 and the Backlands – The WLUP identifies maritime uses at the Northern and Southern Marine Terminals.  The Port’s 2001 Maritime Cargo and Industrial Use Study identifies the Backlands as appropriate for warehousing and assembly/distribution uses. The Southern Waterfront Advisory Committee will undergo a land-use study to make recommendations to the Port Commission for appropriate uses in the Backlands.  

 

Marine Biological and Habitat impact assessment data related to the Bridge

The on-going environmental assessment will take into consideration any additional documented information regarding marine and habitat resources in the vicinity. 

 

Public Open Space and Recreation for the Islais Creek Basin

The west end of Islais Creek (west of Third Street Bridge) is a burgeoning public access area.  The Port has no commercial cargo activities in this area, therefore, public access amenities along the perimeter shoreline would not impede maritime uses.  The existing facilities include the Native Plant Park and small boat gangway and dock on the south shore. An outrigger canoe club stores and launches their vessels from the Native Plant Park.  Along the north shore there is a box sewer promenade that has become a popular skateboard park.  Muni’s future Bus Coach Facility at the north-west end of the creek will include additional shoreline, wetlands and park improvements. 

 

Long-term Employment Potentials Associated with the Bridge and Other Related Development Issues

The proposed Bridge will facilitate cargo and industrial uses at the Northern and Southern Marine Terminals by making the Terminals more efficient and competitive.  A 2000 Port Economic Impact Study showed that the Port’s cargo operations generate 2,586 direct and indirect jobs. Maintaining these as well as future jobs for longshoremen, truckers and associated and ancillary industrial uses in many ways relies on the improved freight access afforded by the proposed Bridge, which the Port sees as essential to maintaining cargo terminal viability.  

 

Affects of the Current Economy and Weakening SF housing Market on Development Issues in the Central and Southern Waterfront Districts

The proposed Bridge is intended to enhance and facilitate maritime and industrial uses in these districts.  San Francisco has a shrinking supply of available industrial zoned lands, therefore, the demand for industrial land will remain high through economic trends.  The weakening SF housing (live-work loft) market will not impact the industrial district.  In fact, it is preferred that potentially incompatible residential (live-work loft) uses not locate immediately adjacent to the contiguous industrial district.